Part 4 out of 5
party to breakfast. They had to travel all the way to Philadelphia
before they could break their fast.
The same gentleman told me that he believed if a white man of any
standing in society in New York were now to marry a coloured lady,
however intelligent and accomplished, his life would be in danger,--he
would be lynched for having committed such an outrage upon "public
opinion." And yet the boast is ever ringing in our ears, "This is a
free country--every one does as he pleases here!"
On the 24th of March I called upon Dr. Spring. He is an Old School
Presbyterian, and a supporter of the Colonization Society. In the
course of conversation reference was made to State Churches.
_Myself._--"You see, Doctor, State Churches are the curse of the
British Empire, just as slavery is the curse of your country."
_The Doctor._--"Ah! so it is; and yet we can do nothing to remove them.
Here is our slavery,--we can't touch it; and you cannot touch your
Established Church. Do you think you will ever get rid of it?"
_Myself._--"Oh! Yes; I hope so."
_The Doctor._--"But it will be a _very_ long time before it comes to
_Myself._--"Perhaps not so very long. We are rapidly hastening towards
some great change. The old principle of an Establishment is now being
abandoned by all parties; and we shall soon come either to the pay-all
or to the pay-none principle. I am much afraid it will be the former."
_The Doctor._--"But were it to come to that, and the State would pay
you as well as all the rest, you would have no further ground of
_Myself._--"Oh! but we should: we dread that above all other evils. It
will be a dark day for evangelical religion in England, if ever that
principle be adopted."
_The Doctor._--"Why? What harm can it do you to receive the money of
the State, provided it does not infringe upon your liberties?"
_Myself._--"In the first place, it would be a departure from the law of
Jesus Christ, and every departure from his law is sure to be productive
_The Doctor._--"Very true. That's a sound principle--that every
departure from his law will be productive of evil; but then, it remains
to be proved that it _is_ a departure from his law. However, I am glad
to see you stick so firmly to your principles."
He then went on to ask if I would preach for him next Sabbath. Now,
whether he was only trying me on those points, or whether he had not
studied the subject, or whether he was anxious to keep me off from the
subject of slavery, I cannot tell. But I came away with my knowledge of
Dr. Spring less than it was when I entered. He seemed like a cold,
stiff, formal State parson.
In the evening I attended a missionary meeting in Dr. Adams's Church.
It was the anniversary of the New York and Brooklyn Auxiliary to the
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and embraced about thirty
churches. I expected great things. When I entered they were singing.
The place was little more than half-full,--say 500 persons. Three
gentlemen were sitting in the pulpit. These were Dr. Adams, Dr. Cox,
and Mr. Storrers. I looked around for the negro pew. There it was on
the left of the organ, and five sable friends in it. The first speaker
was Dr. Adams, who delivered a well-prepared oration of half an hour
long. The Rev. Mr. Storrers, a young man, the pastor of the "Church of
the Pilgrims" in Brooklyn, was the next speaker. His preparation and
delivery were of the same character as those of Dr. Adams. But he
possesses great mental power. He occupied exactly half an hour. Both
speakers complained bitterly of diminished confidence and
contributions. I forget the exact amount announced as the contribution
of this auxiliary; but it was small. Dr. Cox, of Brooklyn, was the
third speaker. He told us that the last meeting he had attended in
England, a few months before, was the missionary meeting in Birmingham.
It was held in the town-hall, a magnificent building, and well filled.
He pronounced an eloquent eulogy on John Angell James. He described the
missionary breakfast in Birmingham; but, in mentioning such a thing as
a "missionary breakfast," he felt it necessary to make some apology. He
assured them it was not attended with the evils they might be apt to
imagine would be inseparably connected with it. The fact is that
missionary breakfasts are altogether unknown in America. Dr. Cox stated
that he had often been asked in England how they managed missionary
meetings in America, that the people of England held them in high
estimation, that in England they depended chiefly for the support of
the missionary cause upon legacies, stock, &c., while they in America
were content to say, "Give us day by day our daily bread." He also
mentioned Dr. Chalmers's eulogy upon them. While in England, he (Dr.
Cox) and another had waited upon Sir Stratford Canning, to commend
their mission at Constantinople to his kind notice, and Sir Stratford
had spoken in very high terms of the American people. Thus, even at the
missionary meeting, incense must be offered to national vanity.
A Visit to Mount Vernon--Dr. Robinson--Welsh Deputation--Queen Anne and
New York--The Sabbath--Preaching at Dr. L's--Afternoon Service at Mr.
C----'s--Tea at Dr. L----'s--Evening Service at Mr.----'s.
The next day my wife and I paid our promised visit to the institution
of the Abbotts at Mount Vernon. In its government there are neither
rewards nor punishments; but each pupil, at the close of the day, has
to present a brief report of her own conduct. Her good deeds and her
bad deeds must be alike proclaimed--proclaimed by herself,--and that in
the presence of her fellow-pupils who were witnesses of the conduct to
which she refers. This compels her to be faithful. If she tries to
conceal what was faulty, she is surrounded by those who will detect
that concealment: if she ostentatiously parades her own excellences,
she knows she will sink in the estimation of her friends. The
encouragement of self-respect, and of a regard for that which is good
for its _own_ sake, are the great principles of government in this
Mr. Abbott's plan of teaching a language is, not at first to weary the
pupils with the dry rules of grammar, but to store their memories with
words. He read a word or a short sentence in French, for instance, and
asked the pupils to translate it into English. Then, with closed books,
he would give them the English in like manner to be turned into French.
I have since adopted the plan with Latin pupils with pleasure and
Mr. Abbott allows a recess of five minutes at the close of every
half-hour. The hours of attendance are from 9 A.M. to 2 P.M.; but a
rest of half an hour is allowed in the midst of that period. We
happened to be there when the said half-hour arrived. All the Abbotts,
the pupils, and ourselves went out to the playground, which was
furnished with seats, and swings, and skipping-ropes, and
swinging-boats, and all sorts of machines for exercise and amusement.
In these gymnastic performances the Abbotts themselves joined the
pupils, with a beautiful combination of freedom and propriety. A
happier assemblage I never saw. We retired highly delighted with all we
In the afternoon I had the honour of being introduced to Dr. Robinson,
whose Greek Lexicon I had often thumbed with advantage. He appeared to
be from 45 to 50 years of age. His manners were exceedingly simple and
unostentatious,--the constant characteristics of true greatness. I
looked upon him with high respect and veneration. He is a man of whom
America may well be proud. He pressed me to go and address the students
at Union College, of which he is one of the Professors; but an
opportunity of doing so did not occur.
In the evening I was waited upon by two gentlemen who announced
themselves as the "President and Secretary" of a Welsh Temperance
Society, and wished me to attend and address one of their meetings at a
given time. This I could not do. In conversation with them about
slavery, and the oppression of the coloured people, I was surprised and
grieved to find how soon the Welsh people imbibed the feelings and aped
the conduct of the Americans in those matters. On their pressing me to
attend a meeting of their society on some _future_ occasion, I told
them I was one of the most downright Abolitionists that ever lived,
and, if I came, would terrify them all with such an abolition speech as
they had never heard. This, of course, was cold water upon their love,
and our interview soon terminated.
The weather for the next two days was so unfavourable that we could not
go out at all. Among the information I then derived from books were the
following precious morsels from the Introduction to the Natural History
of New York: "The Governor was directed by Queen Anne to take especial
care that the Almighty should be devoutly and duly served according to
the rites of the Church of England," and was at the _same time_ desired
by the Queen "to take especial care that the colony should have a
constant and sufficient supply of merchantable negroes at moderate
rates." Just what our own West India planters _now_ want! Oh! how they
would hail the return of the palmy days of Queen Anne!
On Sabbath the 28th of March I was invited to preach in the morning in
the church of Dr. L----, a Congregational place of worship, capable of
accommodating about 500 persons. The attendance was not more than 200.
There I was delighted to find no negro pew. A few coloured children
were intermingled with the white ones in the gallery. The Doctor, to
whom I had not been introduced, was already in the pulpit when I
arrived. The ceremony of introduction to each other had to be duly
performed in the rostrum. He is a fine, tall, clean, and
venerable-looking old gentleman. He began the service, and, before
sermon, announced that they would then "take up" the usual collection.
That place of worship is what they call a "Free Church,"--_i.e._ there
is no pew-letting; as a substitute for which, they "take up" a weekly
collection. The Doctor also made the following announcement: "A
Missionary of the London Missionary Society, from Guiana, one of the
South American possessions of Britain,--his name is Mr. Davies,--will
now preach; and in the evening Professor Kellog from----, a _long_
friend of mine, will preach." At the close I was introduced to the
Doctor's _long_ friend, Professor Kellog; and sure enough he was a
"long" one! There was present also Professor Whipple, of the Oberlin
Institute, to whom I had before been introduced.
In the afternoon I preached for a Mr. C----, in a Presbyterian Church.
The place was beautiful, commodious, and nearly full. The pastor
introduced the service. In his manner of doing so, I was very much
struck with--what I had before often observed in our Transatlantic
brethren--a great apparent want of reverence and fervour. The singing
was very good--in the choir. In my address, I urged them to give their
legislators, and their brethren in the South, no rest till the guilt
and disgrace of slavery were removed from their national character and
institutions. I also besought them, as men of intelligence and piety,
to frown upon the ridiculous and contemptible prejudice against colour
wherever it might appear. To all which they listened with apparent
kindness and interest.
We took tea by invitation with Dr. L----, for whom I had preached in
the morning. There we met with his nice wife, nice deacon, nice little
daughters, and nice nieces,--but a most intolerable nephew. This man
professed to be greatly opposed to slavery, and yet was full of
contempt for "niggers." He talked and _laughed_ over divisions in
certain churches, and told the company how he used occasionally to go
on Sunday nights to hear a celebrated minister, just "for the sake of
hearing him _talk_--ha--ha--ha!" And yet this was a professor of
On the subject of slavery the following conversation took place:--
_Nephew._--"If I were in a Slave State, I would not hold slaves."
_Aunt._--"Ah! but you would."
_Nephew._--"No! that I would not."
_Aunt._--"You could not live there without."
_Dr. L._----(gravely).--"Well, I _guess_ we had better pray, 'Lead us
not into temptation.'"
_Aunt._ (devoutly)--"I _guess_ we had."
By-and-by one of the young ladies said to my wife, "I guess we had
better go and fix our things, and get ready for church." This was the
signal for the breaking up of our social enjoyment, which would have
been one of unmingled pleasure, had it not been for this noisy,
conceited, talkative nephew.
In the evening I had to preach again for Mr.----, the place where the
coloured gentleman was refused admission to the body of the church. The
building was very fine, and the congregation very large. Professor
Fowler, of Amherst College, who happened to be present, read the
Scriptures and prayed. My subject was "the woes and wants of the
African race." I touched upon American slavery, and gave details of the
horrors of the slave traffic as at present carried on. I also bore
testimony against the cruel prejudice which so extensively exists
against the African colour. All were attentive, except one man, who
rose and walked out; and I fancied him saying to himself, "I am not
going to sit here to listen to this abolition nonsense any longer." And
so ended my Sabbath in New York.
The Rev. Theodore Sedgwick Wright--His Testimony against Caste--His
Funeral--Drs. Cox and Patton--The Service in the House--The
Procession--The Church--The Funeral Oration--Mrs. Wright.
During my stay at this time in New York, there died in that city the
Rev. Theodore Sedgwick Wright, a Presbyterian minister of colour. His
attainments and talents were very respectable; and for fifteen years he
had been the successful pastor of a church of coloured people in the
Before you accompany me to his funeral, listen to his voice. Though
"dead, he yet speaketh." He had felt this cruel prejudice against the
colour of his skin as iron entering his soul. Here is his touching
testimony on the subject, delivered in a speech at Boston eleven years
before his death:--
"No man can really understand this prejudice, unless he feels it
crushing him to the dust, because it is a matter of feeling. It has
bolts, scourges, and bars, wherever the coloured man goes. It has bolts
in all the schools and colleges. The coloured parent, with the same
soul as a white parent, sends his child to the seats of learning; and
he finds the door bolted, and he sits down to weep beside his boy.
Prejudice stands at the door, and bars him out. Does the child of the
coloured man show a talent for mechanics, the heart of the parent beats
with hope. He sees the children of the white man engaged in employment;
and he trusts that there is a door open to his boy, to get an honest
living, and become a useful member of society. But, when he comes to
the workshop with his child, he finds a bolt there. But, even suppose
that he can get this first bolt removed, he finds other bars. He can't
work. Let him be ever so skilled in mechanics, up starts prejudice, and
says, 'I won't work in the shop if you do.' Here he is scourged by
prejudice, and has to go back, and sink down to some of the employments
which white men leave for the most degraded. He hears of the death of a
child from home, and he goes in a stage or a steam-boat. His money is
received, but he is scourged there by prejudice. If he is sick, he can
have no bed, he is driven on deck: money will not buy for him the
comforts it gets for all who have not his complexion. He turns to some
friend among the white men. Perhaps that white man had sat at his table
at home, but he does not resist prejudice here. He says, 'Submit. 'Tis
an ordinance of God,--you must be humble.' Sir, I have felt this. As a
minister, I have been called to pass often up and down the North River
in steam-boats. Many a night I have walked the deck, and not been
allowed to lie down in a bed. Prejudice would even turn money to dross
when it was offered for these comforts by a coloured man. Thus
prejudice scourges us from the table; it scourges us from the cabin,
from the stage-coach, from the bed. Wherever we go, it has for us
bolts, bars, and rods."
And now let us attend the speaker's funeral. Professor Whipple will be
our guide. As we proceed, crowds of coloured people are hastening in
the same direction from all quarters. We are at the house. But so great
is the throng that it is impossible to get in. Here, however, comes Dr.
Cox. "Make room for Dr. Cox!"--"Make room for Dr. Cox!" is now heard on
every hand. A path is opened for the great man, and we little men slip
in at his skirt. On reaching the room where the remains of the good man
lie, we find Dr. Patton and the Rev. Mr. Hatfield. They and Dr. Cox are
there in a semi-official capacity, as representing the Presbytery with
which Mr. Wright was connected. Louis Tappan, the long-tried and
faithful friend of the coloured race, is there also. I am asked to be a
pall-bearer: without at all reflecting on the duties and inconveniences
of the office, I good-naturedly consent. A _white_ cotton scarf is
instantly thrown over my shoulder. There is the coffin; and there is a
lifelike portrait of Mr. Wright hung up against the wall, and looking
as it were down upon that coffin. But you can see the face of Mr.
Wright himself. The coffin-lid is screwed down; but there is a square
of glass, like a little window, just over the face, as is generally the
case in America, and you can have a view of the whole countenance.
A black man reads a hymn, and, in connection with it, begins an address
in a very oracular style, and with very solemn pauses. A hint is given
him not to proceed. They sing. Mr. Hatfield delivers an appropriate
address. A coloured minister prays, sometimes using the first person
singular, and sometimes the first person plural; also talking about the
"meanderings of life," and a great deal of other nonsense.
We move down stairs. The immense procession starts. Drs. Cox and
Patton, Mr. Hatfield, and about half-a-dozen more white ministers, are
in it. As we pass on from street to street, and from crossing to
crossing, all sorts of people seem to regard the procession with the
utmost respect. The cabmen, 'busmen, and cartmen behave exceedingly
well. But did you overhear what those three or four low dirty men said
as we approached? I am ashamed to tell, because those men are not
Americans, but _Irishmen_,--"Here comes the dead nigger!" The boys, now
and then, are also overheard counting how many _white_ men there are in
We are now at the church. After much delay and difficulty we enter. The
place, which is not large, is crammed. There must be about 600 people
in. Dr. Cox urges them to make room for more, and says there are not
more than one-tenth in of those who wish to enter. If so, there must be
a concourse of 6,000 people, and not more than twenty whites among them
A coloured man gives out a hymn. Dr. Cox reads the Scriptures, and
makes a few remarks. Dr. Patton delivers an oration. In that oration,
while speaking of Mr. Wright's anti-slavery feelings as being very
strong, he adds, with very questionable taste, "But at the same time
our brother had no sympathy with those who indulged in _denunciation,
wrath, and blackguardism_. He would never touch the missiles which
_none but scoundrels use_." What a selection of words in a funeral
oration! In speaking of Mr. Wright's labours in connection with that
church for fifteen years, he says, "Our brother had difficulties which
other men have not. Two or three years ago he had to trudge about the
city, under the _full muzzle_ of a July or August sun, to beg money in
order to extricate this place from pecuniary difficulties. On one
occasion, after walking all the way to the upper part of the city to
call upon a gentleman from whom he hoped to receive a donation, he
found that he had just left his residence for his office in the city.
Our brother, though greatly exhausted, was compelled to walk the same
distance down again; for--to the shame, the everlasting shame of our
city be it spoken--our brother, on account of his colour, could not
avail himself of one of the public conveyances. The next week disease
laid hold of him, and he never recovered."
What a strong and unexpected testimony against that cruel prejudice!
According to this testimony, Theodore Sedgwick Wright fell a _victim_
to it. But who would have thought that Dr. Patton, who thus denounced
the cabmen and 'busmen of New York, had at the very time the "Negro
Pew" in his own church!
While on this subject, let me tell you another fact respecting poor Mr.
Wright. The life of his first wife was sacrificed to this heartless and
unmanly feeling. He was travelling with her by steam-boat between New
York and Boston. They had to be out all night, and a bitter cold
winter's night it was. Being coloured people, their only accommodation
was the "hurricane-deck." Mrs. Wright was delicate. Her husband offered
to pay any money, if they would only let her be in the kitchen or the
pantry. No,--she was a "nigger," and could not be admitted. Mr. Wright
wrapped her in his own cloak, and placed her against the chimney to try
to obtain for her a little warmth. But she took a severe cold, and soon
died. _His_ colour, it would seem, hastened his own exit to rejoin her
in that world where such absurd and inhuman distinctions are unknown.
Dr. Patton's oration is now ended. But--did you ever hear such a thing
at a funeral?--that minister in the table pew is actually giving out--
"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!"
and they sing it to a funeral tune!
We start for the place of burial. But it is a long way off, and I had
better spare you the journey. The great men fell off one after another;
but my pall-bearing office compelled me to remain to the last. It was 4
o'clock P.M. before the solemnities were closed.
Trip to New Haven--Captain Stone and his Tender Feeling--Arrival in New
Haven--A Call from Dr. Bacon and the Rev. Mr. Dutton--Newspapers--The
Centre Church and Standing Order--The North Church and Jonathan
Now for an excursion to New Haven. We leave by the steamer "Traveller,"
Captain Stone, at 61/2 A.M. Wrap yourself up well; it is piercing cold,
being the 30th of March. This boat is altogether different from the
boats on the Mississippi. It seems to belong to quite another species.
It is, however, admirably adapted for its purpose,--that of running
along a stormy coast. In the gentlemen's cabin are three tiers of
berths, one above another like so many book-shelves. The engine works
outside, like a top-sawyer. We shall pass "Hell Gate" directly; but
don't be alarmed. You would not have known it, had I not told you. The
Hog's Back, the Frying Pan, and other places of Knickerbocker
celebrity, are in this neighbourhood.
Let us go to the ladies' saloon. Well! I declare! There is a coloured
woman, and allowed to remain unmolested! Things improve as we approach
New England, and are much better even there than they were a few years
But here comes the captain muffled up. He brings with him a poor
sickly-looking woman, begs the ladies' pardon, and bids her sit down by
the stove and warm herself. He then tells the passengers her painful
story. The night before, in New York, this woman came on board, from
one of the Philadelphia boats, bringing with her a bed and a child. On
being spoken to by the captain, she informed him that she was on her
way from St. Louis to her home in Massachusetts,--that she had been
fifteen days upon the journey, and had two children with her. On being
asked where the other was, she replied, "There it is," pointing to the
bed, where, clad in its usual dress, the little sufferer, released from
the trials of life, lay extended in death. It had caught cold, and died
in her arms in New York. She was friendless and penniless, and wanted a
passage to New Haven. The captain had obtained a coroner's inquest over
the body, purchased for it a little coffin, had it decently laid out,
and gratified her maternal feelings by allowing her to bring it with
her, that it might be buried in her village-home in Massachusetts. All
this he had done without money and without price, had also given her a
free passage to New Haven, and was about to forward her home by railway
at his own expense! Captain _Stone_--"what's in a name?"--at the close
of this statement had to take out his pocket-handkerchief, and wipe
away a few manly tears from his weather-beaten cheeks, as he added, "I
have met in my life with many cases of distress, but with none that
came so much to my heart as this." His object, in introducing the woman
and her case, was to make an appeal to the passengers on her behalf. He
did so; and the result was a subscription amounting to about five
pounds sterling, which was handed over to her. Captain Stone's was a
deed worthy of a golden inscription!
It is half-past 11 A.M., and we are now at the landing-place in the
harbour of New Haven, having accomplished the distance from New York,
about 80 miles, in five hours! We have a long wharf of 3,943 feet to
travel; and then we set foot for the first time on the soil of New
England. We have been invited to make our abode here with the Rev.
Leicester Sawyer, who makes his abode at Deacon Wilcoxon's, corner of
Sherman-avenue and Park-street. Thither, therefore, let us go. Mr.
Sawyer, whom we had before met in New York, is the author of several
books, comprising two on Mental and Moral Philosophy, and was also
lately the President of the Central College of Ohio. Deacon Wilcoxon
and his wife are plain, homely, kind Christian people. They make you
feel at home as soon as you have crossed their threshold.
Soon after our arrival the Rev. Dr. Bacon and the Rev. Mr. Dutton, the
pastors of the "first" and "second" Congregational Churches in this
city, honour us with a call. This is brotherly, and more than we could
have expected. Dr. Bacon regrets that he is going from home, and cannot
have us to spend a few days at his house. Mr. Dutton, however, presses
us to accept of his hospitality. We promise to do so in a day or two.
Dr. Bacon is one of the great men of New England. He is a living
encyclopaedia,--a walking library. He keeps fully up with the
literature and sciences of the day. I have not met a man, either in the
Old World or in the New, that so thoroughly understood the state of the
British West Indies at the present time as he does. He might have spent
years in that part of the world, and devoted himself to its exclusive
study. His position at home is high, and his influence great. The
estimation in which he is held in New England may be judged of by the
fact, that when, in August 1846, Dr. Theodore Dwight Woolsey had to be
installed as President of Yale College, Dr. Bacon, living within a
stone's throw of that institution, was the man chosen to preach the
In the middle of the afternoon, my friend Mr. Sawyer presses me to
preach in his place of worship--the Howe-street Church--this evening. I
consent. By-and-by I observe him very busy with some slips of paper;
and I ask him what he is doing? "I am sending," he says, "notices to
the evening papers, to make it known that you are going to preach this
evening!" What a people the Americans are for newspapers! New Haven has
only a population of about 18,000; and yet it has six daily papers--all
having a weekly issue besides, two monthly periodicals, and two
quarterly ones! The daily papers are, I believe, none of them more than
5 dollars (a guinea) a year, or 2 cents (one penny) per number. No
paper duty, and no stamp. At the service in the evening several
ministers and students were present.
The next day snow to the depth of six inches cover the ground. Let
_us_, however, turn out in the afternoon. We will go and see the
central square,--or the Green, as it is commonly called. This is a
large open space like a park, surrounded on all sides with rows of
stately elms, and is considered one of the most beautiful spots in the
United States. And now we are in a position to take a full view. Three
churches, arranged side by side on this open space, at a few rods from
each other, stand before us. The central one has the most imposing
aspect. It is a large Grecian building; having a portico, supported by
four massive columns, from which rises a lofty bell-tower, ending in a
spire. The combination of the belfry or spire with the Grecian style is
a violation of propriety; but _I like it_. This is the "first"
Congregational Church--that in which Dr. Bacon ministers. That
church--not the building--is coeval with the colony, and can trace back
its history for more than 200 years. It was formerly a State Church.
Congregationalism was for ages the "standing order," or the established
religion, in Connecticut! All the people were taxed for its support;
and no man could have any share in the administration of the civil
government, or give his vote in any election, unless he was a member of
one of the churches. It was not till forty years after the separation
of Church and State in Virginia, where the establishment was Episcopal,
that the example was followed in Connecticut. Happily, however, in 1816
all parties that differed from it--Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists,
Universalists, &c., combined together, gained a majority in the
legislature, and severed the connection between Congregationalism and
the State! There are old men now living who then anxiously and piously
"trembled for the Ark of the Lord." They have, however, lived to see
that the dissolution of the union between Church and State in
Connecticut, as in Virginia, was to the favoured sect as "life from the
dead." The Congregationalist of the one, and the Episcopalian of the
other, would alike deprecate being placed in the same position again.
But this is a digression.
We are still looking at these churches. The church on our right, which
is about the same size and of the same architectural character as the
other, though not quite so showy, is the "second" Congregational
Church, commonly called the North Church--that in which Mr. Button now
ministers. This church originated in the "great awakening" in 1740, was
formed in 1742, and has a history of more than a century in duration.
It arose from dissatisfaction with the ministry of a Mr. Noyes, a
contemporary of Jonathan Edwards, but one who had no sympathy in
Edwards's views and spirit. This man was, indeed, greatly opposed to
the "awakening," and refused George Whitfield admission to his pulpit.
The originators of this second church, therefore, separated from the
original parent, availed themselves of the Act of Toleration, and
became Congregational Dissenters from a Congregational Establishment!
They had of course no State support, nor were they "free from taxation
by the society from which they dissented." "The foundations of this
church, my brethren," said its present gifted pastor, in a sermon
preached at the centenary of its formation, "are love of evangelical
doctrine, of ecclesiastical liberty, of revivals of religion. Such ever
be its superstructure."
Here, for a quarter of a century, lived and laboured Jonathan Edwards
the younger. Perhaps you have never before heard of him; neither had I
till I came to New Haven. If you won't think it too long to be detained
here standing in front of the church, I will tell you a few facts
respecting him. He was the second son and ninth child of the celebrated
Jonathan Edwards of Northampton. His mother, too, was an extraordinary
woman. You will smile at the impression she made on the mind of good
old George Whitfield. He had spent two days at Mr. Edwards's house in
Northampton; and he says, "I felt wonderful satisfaction in being at
the house of Mr. Edwards. He is a son himself, and hath a daughter of
Abraham for his wife. A sweeter couple I have not yet seen. She is a
woman adorned with a meek and quiet spirit, and talked so feelingly and
solidly of the things of God, and seemed to be such a helpmeet to her
husband, that she caused me to renew those prayers which for some
months I have put up to God, that he would send me a daughter of
Abraham to be my wife. I find, upon many accounts, it is my duty to
marry. Lord, I desire to have no choice of my own. Thou knowest my
In quoting this, an American writer adds, "He had not yet learned, if
he ever did, that God is not pleased to make such 'sweet couples' out
of persons who have no choice of their own."
Mr. Edwards, junior, or rather Dr. Edwards, was (like his father) a
great scholar and a profound divine. He was frequently invited to
assist at the examinations in Yale College. On those occasions he used
frequently to display his strictness and accuracy by calling out,
"_Haud recte_" (not right). This procured him the _sobriquet_ of "Old
Haud Recte," by which he was afterwards known among the students. Some
time after his resignation of the pastorate of this church he became
the President of Union College. His works have recently been published
in two large octavo volumes. There is a striking parallel between the
father and the son. They were alike in the character of their minds and
in their intellectual developments. The name, education, and early
employments of the two were alike. Both were pious in their youth; both
were distinguished scholars; both were tutors for equal periods in the
colleges where they were respectively educated; both were settled in
the ministry as successors to their maternal grandfathers; both were
dismissed, and again settled in retired places, where they had leisure
to prepare and publish their works; both were removed from those
stations to become presidents of colleges; both died shortly after
their respective inaugurations, the one in the 56th and the other in
the 57th year of their age; and each of them preached on the first
Sabbath of the year of his death from the same text--"This year thou
But we must not dwell too long on these historical incidents. I have
told you something about the Centre Church and the North Church. That
Gothic building on our left is an episcopal church. That white building
immediately in the rear of the Centre Church is the State House,
completed in 1831. It is constructed of stone and marble, and forms a
prominent ornament of the city. It presents one of the best copies of a
Grecian temple I have seen in the States. In the rear of the North
Church, quite at the remote corner of the Green, stands a plain
barn-like Methodist chapel. And, behind the whole, peeping through the
elm-trees, you see the long range of buildings which constitutes Yale
College. Take it all in all, a view more interesting than that from the
spot on which we now stand I have never beheld.
The Spot on which Whitfield preached--Judge Daggett--Governor Yale
--Yale College--The Libraries--Elliot's Indian Bible--Geological
Museum--Dr. Goodrich--Education and Expenses at Yale College--The
Graves of the Regicides.
Before I take you to "Yale," let me show you the spot on the Green on
which, in 1745, Whitfield, being refused admission to the
Congregational church, preached in the open air, under a tree, to an
immense congregation,--so great at that time was the dislike to a
fervid evangelical ministry. But more than a century has rolled away;
and how changed is the scene!
But, observe you that feeble, tottering old gentleman coming along the
avenue? It is the Hon. David Daggett, LL.D., late Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Connecticut. He is a member, and, I believe, a deacon
of one of the Congregational churches in this city. Twelve or thirteen
years ago that very man, sitting on the judicial bench, condemned Miss
Randall to be punished for--teaching a coloured child to read!
Now for Yale. The Rev. Samuel W. S. Dutton, the minister of the North
Church, will accompany us. This institution was founded in the year
1700. It derived its name from the Hon. Elihu Yale, a gentleman, I am
proud to say, descended from an ancient and respectable family in
Wales. His father, Thomas Yale, Esq., came over with the first settlers
of New Haven. His son Elihu went to England at ten years of age, and to
the East Indies at thirty. In the latter country he resided about
twenty years, was made Governor of Madras, acquired a large fortune,
returned to England, was chosen Governor of the East India Company, and
died at Wrexham in Denbighshire in 1721. On several occasions he made
munificent donations to the new institution during the years of its
infancy and weakness, on account of which the trustees by a solemn act
named it "Yale College."
The college buildings--which, like Rome, were not all erected in a
day--consist of four plain spacious edifices, built of brick, each four
stories high, and presenting a front, including passage-ways, of about
600 feet. That neat white house on your right, as you stand before
these buildings, is the President's dwelling--the very house in which
resided Dr. Timothy Dwight. But you are not looking at it. Ah! I see
your attention is attracted by that student sitting on the sill of the
open window of his study, having in his hand a book, and in his mouth a
pipe of clay; by which, with the aid of fire, he is reducing a certain
tropical weed into its original chemical elements. Perhaps you think
that rather undignified; and so it is. I wish you had not seen it; but
worse is done at Oxford and Cambridge.
Behind this range of buildings is another, a more modern and more
imposing pile. This extends in front 151 feet, is built of red
sandstone, is in the Gothic style, and contains the libraries of the
institution. The central building, called the College Hall, containing
the College Library properly so called, measures in front 51 feet, and
in depth from front to rear 95 feet, having at each corner a tower of
the extreme height of 91 feet. The interior is one room, whose
measurement is 83 feet by 41, resembling in form a Gothic chapel, with
its nave and aisles. The nave is 51 feet high, and its breadth 17 feet.
Between its clustered pillars on either side are alcoves, each 10 feet
by 12, fitted up with shelves for books. The number of volumes it now
contains is about 20,000. The extreme wings and the connecting wings on
either side are very elegant, and fitted up for various libraries
connected with the institution, such as the Students' Library, the
Reading Room, the Calliopean Library, and the Livonian Library. The
Students' Library contains 9,000 volumes. This beautiful range of
buildings probably contains not fewer than 40,000 volumes; and ere long
the number will be doubled! Little did the ten ministers who, in 1700,
met together to establish this seminary, each laying down his donation
of books with these words, "I give these books for the founding of a
college in this colony," and who found that their joint-contribution
amounted to only _forty volumes_,--little did they think what that
small beginning would come to!
You are looking out for literary curiosities. Here is one--Elliot's
Indian Bible! You have heard of Elliot, "the Apostle of the North
American Indians." Here is a translation of the entire sacred volume
into one of the languages of those people. The New Testament was
published in 1661, and the Old Testament in 1663. The book before us is
a copy of the second edition of the New Testament in 1680, and of the
Old Testament in 1685. But where are those Indians, or their
descendants? They are extinct; and there is not now a man on the whole
continent of America that speaks their language!
Time will not permit me to describe the Picture Gallery, the Anatomical
Museum, the Cabinet of the Materia Medica, the Museum of Natural
History, and many other objects of interest. You must, however, take a
peep at the Mineral Cabinet, or Geological Museum. It has been
collected and arranged, with great industry and taste, by Professor
Silliman. Look at this meteoric iron-stone. It fell a few years ago in
Texas, and weighs 1,635 lbs.!
Our guide, Mr. Dutton, insists upon our calling at the college-room of
Dr. Goodrich, one of the Theological Professors. We do so; and find him
engaged in revising Webster's Large Dictionary, about a dozen volumes,
for a new edition. But what a polite man! Talk of American rudeness! A
reception more kind and courteous than this you have never received
from any man.
Yale College is a noble institution. Oh that we had a few like it in
England! The Faculty consists of 25 Professors--men who would be an
honour to any country, 7 "Tutors," and 6 "Instructors." At the time of
our visit there are 584 students thus classified:--
Theological Students 53
Law " 62
Medical " 52
Resident Graduates 5
Sophomores (wise fools) 112
Candidates for admission to the Freshmen Class are examined in Cicero's
Select Orations, the whole of Virgil and Sallust, and the first three
books of Xenophon's Anabasis, together with various "Readers,"
"Exercises," and Grammars.
The whole course of instruction occupies four years, each year being
divided into three terms or sessions.
With regard to expense, the annual charges made by the Treasurer are--
For instruction 33 00
For rent of chamber in college (average) 12 00
For ordinary repairs and contingencies 2 40
For general damages, sweeping, &c. 3 60
For expenses of recitation-rooms 3 00
54 00 = L11. 5_s._
Board is obtained at prices varying from a dollar and a quarter to 3
dollars a week. To a majority of the students, the cost of board is
less than 2 dollars a week, or, reckoning the dollar at 4_s._ 2_d._,
less than 8_s._ 4_d._ Fuel is procured by the College Corporation, and
sold to the students at cost-price. The students provide for themselves
bed and bedding, furniture for their rooms, candles, books, stationery,
and washing. In the several classes and literary societies
subscriptions to a small amount are required. If books and furniture
are sold when the student completes his course, the expense incurred by
their use will not be great. The following is an approximate estimate
of the _necessary_ expenses, without including apparel, pocket-money,
travelling, and board during vacations:--
Treasurer's account as above 54 ... 54
Board for forty weeks from 60 to 90
Fuel and lights " 6 " 15
Use of books recited, and stationery " 5 " 15
Use of furniture, bed and bedding " 5 " 15
Washing...... " 5 " 15
Contributions in the classes ... " 5 " 6
140 to 210
or from 29_l._ to 43_l._ No students are permitted to take lodgings in
town, except when the rooms in college are all occupied.
In addition to the regular college course of four years, those who
study for the ministry go through a theological course, which occupies
three years more. No charges are made for tuition or lectures. For the
accommodation of students of this order a building has been erected, in
which the rooms are free of charge. The law department, in like manner,
occupies two years, and the medical two or three.
Let us now go and see the graves of the Regicides. They are at the rear
of the Centre Church. Soon after the restoration of Charles II., many
of the judges who had condemned to death his father were apprehended;
of whom thirty were condemned, and ten executed as traitors. Three,
however, made their escape to New England,--Generals Goffe and Whalley,
and Colonel Dixwell. A cave is shown in the neighbourhood, still called
the "Judges' Cave," in which a great part of their time was spent in
concealment. Many were their hair-breadth 'scapes from their
pursuers--the Royalist party. The colonists, however, gave them all the
sympathy and protection that they deserved. On one occasion, knowing
that the pursuers were coming to New Haven, the Rev. Mr. Davenport
preached on the text, "Hide the outcasts; betray not him that
wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to
them from the face of the spoiler." This, doubtless, had its effect,
putting the whole town on their guard, and uniting the people in
caution and concealment.
Do you see that rudely-shaped, dark blue stone, about 2 feet in width,
the same in height, and 8 inches thick? Do you see the inscription upon
it--E W in coarsely-carved letters, and the figures 1658 over them?
That is, doubtless, the headstone of Whalley's grave. The footstone is
similar, having the same letters; but above them you see figures that
may be read either sixteen hundred and fifty-eight, or sixteen hundred
and seventy-eight--16578. The latter was the date of the General's
death; and the figures, perhaps, were thus tampered with to baffle the
The other stone, about a foot broad and ten inches high, bearing the
letters M. G. and the number 80, is supposed to indicate the
resting-place of Goffe. He died about the year 1680. The M, with a
deep-drawn stroke under its limbs, may be taken for an inverted W; and
thus, with the G, stand for William Goffe, in harmony with the designed
concealment that pervades the whole. Colonel John Dixwell lived here,
for seventeen years or more, under the assumed name of James Davids,
and died here after an exile of twenty-nine years from his native
country. He, as well as the other two judges, lived and died in the
firm expectation of another revolution in England. That revolution had
actually taken place in the November before his death; but, as those
were the days of slow and tedious voyages, the news did not arrive till
about a month after his death. A little before his decease he revealed
to the people his real name and character, which had long been known to
the Rev. Mr. Pierpont the minister, but requested that no monument
should be erected at his grave, "lest his enemies might dishonour his
ashes," but only a plain stone inscribed with his initials J. D., Esq.,
his age, and time of death. And here it is--that piece of red stone,
about 2 feet in height and breadth, and 5 inches thick, inscribed--
"I. D. ESQR
DECEASED MARCH ye
18th IN ye 82d YEAR OF
HIS AGE 1688^9."
President Stiles, in his "History of the Judges," says, "So late as the
last French war, 1760, some British officers passing through New Haven,
and hearing of Dixwell's grave, visited it, and declared, with
rancorous and malicious vengeance, that if the British ministry knew
it, they would even then cause their bodies to be dug up and vilified.
Often have we heard the crown officers aspersing and vilifying them;
and some so late as 1775 visited and treated the graves with marks of
indignity too indecent to be detailed."
By those who can make a due allowance for difference of time and
circumstances, the graves of these exiles will be visited with
sentiments of veneration. It would have been grand to spare the
presumptuous monarch; but we cannot feel surprised that he was
sacrificed to the indignation of an outraged people. In these days,
happily, kings and nations have learned that to take away the life of
tyrannical rulers, or of resisting subjects, is but to sow the seeds of
future troubles, and not to lay the foundation of permanent peace.
A Fast-Day--Political Sermons--A Church of Coloured People--The
Sabbath--Morning Service--Afternoon ditto and Dr. Hawes--Prayers at
College Chapel--United Service in North Church--The Cemetery--The
"Fathers"--Professor Gibbs--Annual Election--Statistics--Arrival at
Hartford--Mr. Hosmer--Chief Justice--Deaf and Dumb--Charter Oak.
Good Friday was observed by the people of New England as an annual
fast-day, to humble themselves on account of their national sins. It
seemed, somewhat to our inconvenience, to be literally and very rigidly
observed in the circle in which we moved. On that day all ministers are
at liberty to preach upon politics. Accordingly, my friend Mr. Sawyer
took for his text Isaiah lviii. 6: "Is not this the fast that I have
chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens,
and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?" He
touched upon the war with Mexico, but dwelt chiefly on the subject of
slavery in America. His remarks were, however, too much mingled with
party politics to make the church uncomfortable.
In the afternoon I heard Mr. Dutton, in the North Church. His text was
Neh. ii. 3, and his subject _Patriotism_. The existing war occupied
much of his attention, and was strongly and unsparingly denounced. The
maxim--too frequently heard at that time in the United States--"Our
country, right or wrong," he shattered to atoms. Defensive war,
however, he justified. He dwelt powerfully on the responsibility
connected with the exercise of the elective franchise, and urged the
duty of voting, at all times, not blindly and for party purposes, but
intelligently, honestly, and piously. Exceptions might perhaps be taken
by some to his views on defensive war; otherwise the discourse was
excellent and seasonable. At the close of the service, we went, in
accordance with previous arrangements, to be his guests for a few days.
In the evening I attended a Congregational church of coloured people.
The place was exceedingly neat and clean. The minister, the Rev. Mr.
Beman (himself a coloured man), gave out the well-known hymn--
"Come we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known," &c.,
which was sung beautifully. He then offered up a very judicious,
sensible, and pious prayer. The meeting was one of a series of revival
meetings. A large number professed to have been converted; but, such
were the care and caution exercised, none of them had been admitted
into the fellowship of the church. Mr. Beman was so prudent,
unassuming, and devout, that I could not resist the inclination to go
up, introduce myself, and give a short address. Most cordial was my
reception, and great my enjoyment. At the close, one and another were
introduced to me as having made their escape from Southern slavery,
under circumstances painfully affecting; and they would not let me go
without a promise that I would preach to them on the following Sabbath
I did so, and enjoyed the service very much. As in the evening there
was to be a service in the North Church, in which all the other
churches were to unite, for the purpose of hearing from me a statement
with regard to the history and operations of the London Missionary
Society, together with some special reference to British Guiana, I said
to Mr. Beman, "Brother Beman, won't you and your people go to the North
Church to-night?" He hesitatingly said, "No,--he thought not." "Why
not?" said I,--"you know my statements will in a great measure refer to
those who are your brethren--your kindred according to the flesh."
"Yes," he replied,--"we should be glad to come; but the fact is they
would pack us--myself and all--into some negro pew, and we should feel
In the afternoon I preached for Mr. Dutton, in the North Church. Dr.
Bacon had that day exchanged pulpits with Dr. Hawes of Hartford. My
service closing a little sooner than his, I reached the Centre Church
in time to hear the latter part of his sermon. Dr. Hawes is a fine,
tall man, of about 55 years of age. In personal appearance, and in
tones of voice, he struck me as greatly resembling some of the sons of
Caledonia. His sermon, which was read, seemed to be very good; but the
delivery, even in the application, was slow and heavy. Both churches
were even more beautiful inside than out, and were filled with very
Shortly after, Mr. Dutton took me to attend the afternoon worship at
the College Chapel, where a church is formed, and public services are
conducted every Sabbath. It was here that Dr. Dwight delivered his
well-known Lectures. There are prayers morning and afternoon every day,
which the students are expected to attend. Such was the present
engagement. One of the professors read a chapter; gave out a hymn,
which was magnificently sung; and then offered an extempore prayer.
There were between 300 and 400 students present.
In the evening Dr. Hawes accompanied me into the pulpit, and took the
introductory part of the service. Most of the professors and students
were present. It was a fine, though formidable, opportunity to plead
the cause of the despised and oppressed sons of Afric before an
audience of so much learning and intelligence. What a contrast! In 1742
the students were forbidden to attend the meetings of this church; and
it was partly for once disobeying this prohibition, in order to hear
the Rev. Gilbert Tennent, that David Brainerd was expelled from the
Nor were the sentiments I uttered new in this place. Nearly 60 years
have rolled away since Jonathan Edwards the younger preached here a
sermon, afterwards published by _request_, on the injustice and
impolicy of the slave-trade and slavery,--a sermon which in these days
would be called by many not merely abolitionism but incendiarism.
On Monday morning we were taken to see the cemetery, outside of the
city. Formerly the Green was used as a burying-ground; but in the
latter part of last century this field of ten acres was levelled and
inclosed for the purpose; and in 1821 the monuments, with the exception
of the humble stones of the three judges, were removed hither. The
broken tablets and half-legible inscriptions, which constituted the
memorials of the fathers and founders of this colony, were peculiarly
interesting. On the 18th of April, 1638, those men kept their first
Sabbath here. The people assembled under a large spreading oak, and Mr.
Davenport, their pastor, preached to them from Matt. iv. 1: "Then was
Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the
devil." His subject was the temptations of the wilderness; and he
recorded the remark, that he had enjoyed "a good day." The following
year they met in a large barn, and in a very solemn manner proceeded to
lay the foundation of their civil and religious polity. Mr. Davenport
introduced the business with a sermon on "Wisdom hath builded her
house; she hath hewn out her seven pillars." The most ancient record of
this event is a curiosity in the history of civil government. It thus
begins:--"The 4th day of the 6th moneth, called June, all the free
planters assembled together in a general meetinge, to consult about
settling civil government according to God, and about the nomination of
persons that may be found by consent of all fittest in all respects for
the foundation work of a church, which was to be gathered in Quinipiack
[the Indian name of the place]. After sollemne invocation of the name
of God in prayer," &c., they resolved--Alas! for that resolve! it
admitted a wrong principle, and was productive, for more than 150
years, of the most withering and blighting effect upon that religion
which they aimed to foster--they resolved among other things, "That
church members only shall be free burgesses; and that they only shall
chuse magistrates and officers among themselves, to have the power of
transacting all publique civil affairs of this plantation," &c.
But why record their errors while standing over their tombs? _De
mortuis nil nisi bonum_. Take them for all in all, they were men whom
we delight to honour. Here are some of their memorials, dated so far
back as 1657. Here too is the resting-place of Dr. Dwight.
As we return from this necropolis, the Rev. Mr. Sawyer points out to us
the house of Professor Gibbs. "Gibbs--Gibbs," said I; "what! Gibbs's
Gesenius?" "Yes," said he. "I should like to see him," I replied, "for
I used at college his editions of Gesenius's Hebrew Lexicon." "Let us
then call by all means," said Mr. Sawyer. We did so; and a thin, spare,
sallow, sickly, withered, little old gentleman made his appearance.
This was the Professor. He seemed as if all the juice and sap of his
constitution had been pressed out to nourish the Hebrew roots. I
expressed my pleasure in seeing him, and acknowledged the advantages I
had derived from his labours. The conversation soon touched upon the
Established Church of England, of which he seemed to have a great
horror. "You ought to put down," said he, "that Establishment. You
might very easily do it." "We should be very happy, sir, to know how,"
I replied. "I will tell you. Make thorough Hebrew scholars of your
ministers. Let them be with regard to Biblical learning quite on a par
with those of the Establishment, and it will soon fall." I answered,
that upon the whole I thought they were in that respect quite in
advance of those of the Establishment. But I was amused at the good
Professor's simplicity. He little understood the mighty bulwarks by
which that institution is defended. A little more of the article in
which _he_ dealt would be just the thing to accomplish wonders! It was
To-day the annual election of the State of Connecticut is held. All the
officers of state are to be chosen, and New Haven is one of the
principal polling-places. But how quiet the town! The only thing that
indicates an election is the presence of a larger number of people than
usual; and the only display you can see is that little bit of a flag,
about 18 inches square, stuck on the top of a cab, having on the word
"Democracy!" Let us go into the State House, and see how it is done.
Men leave their stores or their studies,--enter by one door, drop their
vote into a box, and quietly return to their avocations. The students
at Yale who are 21 years of age do the same, and go back to their
exercises. The whole affair is managed with as much propriety as the
election of deacons in the church at New Amsterdam. _This_ is the
working of universal suffrage in New England. Oh that all America, and
all the world, were in this respect like the land of the Pilgrim
And now we must bid adieu to New Haven. Many are the warm hearts and
clear heads it contains. The population is about 18,000. There are in
5 Congregational Churches, and 1 Coloured ditto.
2 Episcopal ditto . . 1 "
2 Methodist Episcopal ditto 1 "
2 Baptist ditto.
1 Primitive Methodist ditto. 1 Bethel ditto.
1 Catholic ditto. --
13 + 4 = 17 total of places of worship.
The Salary of the Governor of Connecticut is 1,100
" Lieutenant " . . 300
" Rev. Dr. Bacon . . . 1,500
" Rev. Mr. Dutton . . . 1,500
In the middle of the day, we leave by railway for Hartford, 36 miles
off. Dr. Hawes is our fellow-traveller. Coloured people are here
allowed to travel in the same carriages with others. It was not so,
even on this line, three or four years ago, when the Rev. Mr.
Pennington was setting off from Hartford for England. He told me
himself that he was obliged on that occasion to travel in the
luggage-van. On our arrival, we are met by Charles Hosmer, Esq., (a
cousin of Elihu Burritt,) an old and valued correspondent of mine, and
of my predecessor Mr. Wray. To both of us he had occasionally sent
presents of excellent American publications. We must be his guests
during the few days we remain at Hartford. Dr. Hawes and Chief Justice
Williams, came in a homely way to spend the evening with us. The Chief
Justice is a deacon of the Doctor's church, and a teacher in the
The next day we were taken to see the Deaf and Dumb Institution. This
asylum was founded by the Rev. Mr. Gallaudet, who, becoming deeply
interested in this class of afflicted humanity, visited England and the
Continent with a view to obtain information as to the best mode of
communicating instruction to them. I may also observe that he himself
married a deaf and dumb lady, by whom he has a large family of
children, now grown up, none of whom however inherit the maternal
affliction. His son also has married a lady who, like his mother, is
deaf and dumb. We were highly delighted with the success of the
undertaking as seen in the comfort, cheerfulness, and proficiency of
the pupils. In coming out, we met at the door a respectable
well-dressed man and a woman, both of them deaf and dumb, who had
formerly been pupils here, had formed an attachment to each other,
married, settled comfortably in life, and were now coming to pay a
visit to their former home.
On our return we saw the celebrated Charter Oak. The early settlers of
this place had obtained from the second Charles, and that in the very
year in which 2,000 ministers were ejected from the Church of England,
a most favourable charter--far more so than the Colonial Office in the
present day would grant. Charles, however, repented having granted it,
and in 1687 sent over Sir Edmund Andross, under some pretence or other,
to demand it back. It was night, and the Legislative Assembly were
convened on the subject, when suddenly the lights were extinguished,
and the charter was missing. For a long time it was not known, except
to the initiated, what had become of it. When, however, the danger was
past, the Charter was forthcoming. It had been concealed in the hollow
of this old oak, which still survives. I was gratified in seeing the
document carefully preserved in the office of the Secretary of State.
It is dated 1662, and "in the fourteenth year of our reign," though in
reality Charles had then reigned but two years.
The "Retreat"--Introductions to the Insane--Piety and Profanity
--Service in the Fourth Church--Memorials of the Pilgrims--Dr.
Bushnell and his Opinions--The Mother Church and its Burying-Ground
--The New Cemetery--Prejudice against Colour--Mrs. Sigourney--Departure
from Hartford--Worcester and Elihu Burritt--Boston--The Rev. Seth
Bliss--The Cradle of Liberty--Mr. Garrison--Bunker's Hill.
Having seen the Charter Oak, let us proceed in company with the Rev.
Mr. Gallaudet to the "Retreat for the Insane," of which he is chaplain.
The place is delightfully situated, and severity of treatment carefully
avoided. As we pass from room to room, we are very gravely and formally
introduced, as strangers in the country, to the inmates. Here we are
introduced to a tall muscular old lady, who has her cap fantastically
trimmed with bits of ribbon of various gaudy colours. With an air of
assumed politeness and dignity, she asks me if I have been to
Washington. On receiving a reply in the negative, she expresses great
regret, and inquires if I have seen "Dan Webster," and, without waiting
for an answer, hurries on, "Fine fellow Dan,--some solid timbers about
Dan,--indeed, the Yankees altogether are not to be sniffed at." I
nodded the most entire assent to all she said.
We enter another room, and are introduced to a curious groupe. One
woman has tied her mouth up with a handkerchief, to prevent her talking
too much. She tells us that at first she had tied it over her ears, to
prevent her hearing another woman's voice, who is constantly talking to
herself, and making her head ache; but that she found her own tongue
then going faster than anybody else's. She had therefore adopted the
_wise_ plan of tying her own mouth. She is eloquent in the praises of
the institution, and calls it "A blessed Retreat--a blessed Retreat."
We move on, and are introduced to a fine-looking woman--the wife of a
respectable merchant in New York. She looks wild, and shakes her head
violently. She pours upon us a flood of questions, most of which relate
to her own husband, such as--When did we see him last?--How was
he?--What message did he send to her? &c. Turning to my wife, she said,
"You had better have staid at home, and never come to this country.
This country _was_ once a great country: it is so no longer, and all
through that man,"--pointing to Mr. Gallaudet. "Oh that man! what a
villain he is! People out of doors don't know him; and," looking at
myself, "you can't do this country better service than to make known
everywhere the real character of that man. Here he keeps me a prisoner
in this place for nothing at all; but I hope the State will take up the
matter, and punish him well for it." I promised to make known Mr.
Gallaudet's character, and bade her adieu.
We are next introduced to a student of theology, who asks very sensible
and pious questions in reference to the missionary cause and the
progress of the Gospel in British Guiana. This man is perfectly sane
except on one point. He thinks there is a conspiracy to poison him, and
that slow poison is administered to him continually in his food. Mr.
Gallaudet, even by dining at the same table and eating out of the same
dish, has failed to convince him to the contrary.
Now we are taken to the chapel in which Mr. Gallaudet officiates among
them. On the desk is an elegantly-bound Bible, which has been presented
by a former patient, who had experienced in his restoration the value
of this "Retreat." The hymn-book is a collection made on purpose for
the insane, everything gloomy and terrific being excluded. Mr.
Gallaudet, a most intelligent and accomplished man, describes many
remarkable developments of human nature which have come under his
observation, comprising strange combinations of piety and profanity in
the same persons. A patient, who was really a very religious man, in
enumerating the many advantages they there enjoyed said, "We have a
good house to live in; good rooms to occupy; good food to eat; a good
doctor to attend us; a good chaplain to give us religious instruction;
and" (waxing warm) "what the devil do we want more?"
In the afternoon we meet with Dr. Hawes, at the house of Chief Justice
Williams to tea.
In the evening there is a united service in the "Fourth Church"--that
of which Dr. Patton's son is minister,--to hear from me an address on
the subject of missions. After which Dr. Bushnell puts to me publicly
some very close and intelligent questions with regard to the working of
freedom in our West India Colonies. He is evidently anxious to elicit
from me that kind of information which would enable them to contradict
the statements of the pro-slavery party. Young Patton is also an
anti-slavery man, and will not tolerate the distinction of colour in
his own church.
The next day Mr. Gallaudet and Mr. Patton call and accompany us to the
Historical Room. There we see carefully kept an old chest that had come
over in the "May Flower," and also the three-legged pot in which the
"Pilgrims" had first boiled their food after landing on Plymouth Rock.
These and many other memorials of the "Fathers" we are happy to find
are very piously preserved. Then we go to a Gallery of Pictures. The
admission fee is 25 cents, or one shilling; but from us, being
strangers, they will accept of nothing! In the collection there was
much to admire; but I could not help regretting that the canvas was
made to preserve the memory of so many conflicts between England and
her Transatlantic sons.
We dined at Dr. Bushnell's house. The Doctor is a very unassuming man,
and a very original but somewhat eccentric thinker. He had lately
published a sermon on Roads, a sermon on the Moral Uses of the Sea, a
sermon on Stormy Sabbaths, and a sermon on Unconscious Influence,--all
treated in a very striking manner. He had recently visited England and
the continent of Europe, and had also contributed an article to the
_New Englander_, a quarterly review, on the Evangelical Alliance. The
views of a keen thinker from another land on that and kindred topics
deserve to be pondered. "The Church of God in England," says the
Doctor, "can never be settled upon any proper basis, whether of truth
or of practical harmony, until the Established Church, as such, is
separated from the State." His estimate of "a large class of English
Christians" is not very flattering. "They are good men, but not
thinking men. Their piety gurgles in a warm flood through their heart,
but it has not yet mounted to their head. * * * In the ordinary, _i.e._
in their preaching and piety, they show a style of goodishness fitly
represented by Henry's Commentary; in the extraordinary, they rise into
sublimity by inflation and the swell of the occasion." Towards slavery
and slaveholders he manifests a tenderness of feeling at which we are
surprised and pained. The proposed exclusion of slaveholders from the
Alliance he characterizes as "absurd and fanatical," speaking of the
subject as having been "so unhandsomely forced upon" the American
brethren in London. Again, "There is too much good sense among the
Christians of this country (America) to think of constituting an
Alliance on the basis which denies Christian character to all
slaveholders. At a future time, when slavery has been discussed long
enough, we shall do so. We cannot do it now,--least of all can we do it
at the dictation of brethren beyond the sea, who do not understand the
And yet in the same article the Doctor proposes that the Christians of
England and America should unite their efforts for the promotion of
religious liberty in Italy, and says, "If we lift our testimony against
all church dungeons and tortures, and against all suppression of
argument by penalties, as cruel, absurd, anti-christian, and impious,
there is no prince or priesthood in Italy or anywhere else that can
long venture to perpetrate such enormities." Will they yield, Doctor,
to the "dictation of brethren beyond the sea?" But this subject of
American slavery is always represented by our Transatlantic friends as
a thing so _profound_ that none but themselves can understand it; and
yet it is evident that they understand it least of all. Hear the
"We do not propose, however, in this movement for religious liberty, to
invite the efforts of our English brethren here against slavery. We
have too little confidence in their knowledge of our condition, and the
correctness of their opinions generally on the subject of American
slavery. They must consent to let us manage the question in our own
way," &c. How strikingly is it here seen that this slavery is the weak
point and the wicked point in the American character! We liked Dr.
Bushnell's company, his hospitality, his wife, his children, his
domestic discipline, his church, his other writings,--everything better
than the article in question, though even it contained much that we
The next day we went to see the "First Congregational Church" in this
place--that in which Dr. Hawes ministers, together with the old
burying-ground attached to it. This was the original church formed by
the first settlers, who in 1636 came from Braintree in Essex, bringing
their pastor the Rev. Thos. Hooker along with them. Of him it is said,
that he appeared in the pulpit with such dignity and independence as if
"while engaged in his Master's work he could put a king in his pocket."
Here is his tomb, dated 1647. Two eventful centuries have rolled away,
during which this church has had only nine pastors; all of whom, except
the last, Dr. Hawes, who still survives, died in their charge, and were
interred in this place. Interments here are no longer continued; but an
old bachelor, of independent means, a descendant of the Pilgrims,
spends nearly the whole of his time "among the tombs" of the fathers
and prophets, and, _con amore_, keeps the ground and the graves in the
most beautiful order.
Our host Mr. Hosmer took us to see the new burying-ground outside of
the city. Here the Catholics and the coloured people had each a parcel
of ground allotted for themselves,--the former because they _would_
not, and the latter because they _should_ not, mingle their dust with
that of other people!
On our way back I said to my friend, "How was it that neither Mr.
Pennington nor any of his people (coloured congregation) were at the
meeting last night? I should have thought they would have come to hear
about their own brethren in Guiana." "Why," he replied, "the fact was I
did not send a notice to them on Sunday: I knew that in the 'Fourth'
Church they would have been scattered all over the place; it would have
been so unpleasant, and talked of for months." Here then was a man of a
large heart, a friend of missions and of all that is good, one who
seemed as if he could embrace the whole world in his sympathies, under
the dominion of a prejudice you would have expected him to scorn!
At Hartford lives Mrs. Sigourney, the graceful American poetess. She is
a pious member of one of the Congregational Churches. Mr. Hosmer kindly
took us to call upon her; and we were greatly pleased with our brief
At 2 P.M. we left with regret this delightful little city, and shall
always cherish a grateful remembrance of the Christian kindness and
hospitality with which we were treated. In all the States we met with
nothing to be compared, in all that was pleasing, to the two cities of
Connecticut--New Haven and Hartford.
In passing, on our way to Boston, through Worcester in Massachusetts, I
cast a hurried glance at every place that looked like a smithy,
wondering whether it was there that Elihu Burritt had wielded his
forge-hammer and scattered his "sparks from the anvil."
We reached Boston at 9 P.M., and stopped at the United States Hotel.
The next day I called to deliver notes of introduction to several of
the Boston divines. Among them was one to the Rev. Seth Bliss, at the
Tract Depository. Having glanced at the note, he very hurriedly said to
me, "Ah, how do you do?--very glad to see you!--where are you stopping
at?"--"At the United States Hotel, sir." "Oh," he replied all in a
breath, "you had better come to my house,--it'll be cheaper for
you,--they'll charge you 2 dollars a day at the United States Hotel,--I
only charge a dollar and a half,--I have a room at liberty now.
Besides, if you want to get acquainted with ministers, you can't do
better than come to my house. In fact, the wags call my house the
'Saints' Rest,'--because, I suppose, they see I sell the book here."
The conjuncture of "Bliss" and "Saints' Rest!" Who could refuse? We
went. But I will not tell how far the accommodation tended to realize
our conceptions of those beatitudes.
On the morrow we went to see Faneuil Hall, the "Cradle of Liberty." A
notice was up at the door to say the key was to be found at such a
store in the neighbourhood. I asked for the key; had it without a
single question being put; went, opened the door myself, and staid as
long as we pleased. There was no hanger-on, to try to squeeze a fee out
of us, as would have been the case in a country I know.
I then went and called without any introduction upon William Lloyd
Garrison, from whom I received the most kind attentions. He accompanied
me to the celebrated Bunker's Hill, a scene of dreadful encounter
between those who ought never to have been foes. A column of 200 feet
high now stands upon the spot. It is unfortunate that the Americans
have so many mementos, both natural and artificial, of their struggles
with us. They tend to perpetuate an undesirable feeling.
Boston (continued)--The Old South--Unitarianism, and Connection between
Church and State--A Welsh Service in an "Upper Room"--Laura Bridgman
and the Wedding Ring--Oliver Caswell--Departure from Boston--John Todd
and his Family--His Congregationalism--Albany and the Delevan
House--Journey to Utica--Remsen and the Welsh People--Dogs made to
churn, and Horses to saw Wood.
On Sabbath morning the 11th of April I preached for the Rev. Mr.
Blagden, in the Old South Church. This is a large old-fashioned square
building, having two galleries, one above the other, on three of its
sides. It is rich in historical recollections. Here Whitfield preached.
Here patriotic meetings were held even before Faneuil Hall was built;
and here the British troops were quartered at the time of the
Revolutionary War. Here, too, the lamp of truth was kept feebly burning
when all around had sunk into darkness and heresy. At the commencement
of this century, the ministry in all the other Congregational Churches
in Boston had become Unitarian. In the Old South, however, there were a
few people, eight in number, who formed a "Society for Religious
Improvement." They could not at first _pray_ together; they only read
the Scriptures and conversed on religious subjects. But they grew in
wisdom, fervour, and zeal, and were eventually the means, not only of
reviving religion in the Old South, but also of giving an impulse in
Boston which is felt to this day. Church after church on orthodox
principles has been instituted, till there are in Boston more than a
dozen large and vigorous churches of the Congregational order; and the
Old South, the honoured "mother of churches," has had her "youth
renewed like the eagles."
But how came Congregationalism to be so deteriorated? It was owing to
its having been made the State religion. All were at first taxed for
its exclusive support. This was felt to be unjust and oppressive, and
it brought the favoured system into bad repute. Then a modification of
the law was adopted, and the citizens had their choice of systems, but
were taxed for the support of some system or other. This provision,
likewise, began ere long to be felt as unjust towards those who did not
wish to maintain _any_ system, or at least not by taxation. This law,
moreover, gave a virtual support to Unitarianism. "This," says the Rev.
Mr. Button of New Haven, "has been more fully illustrated in
Massachusetts than in Connecticut. The repeal of the law for the
compulsory support of religion in that commonwealth has proved a severe
blow to Unitarianism."
After the morning service at the Old South, we turned in to see
Park-street Church, another Congregational place of worship, which for
the following reason I was curious to enter. A few years ago a coloured
gentleman of respectability instructed a friend to purchase for him a
pew in that church. That no objection to the sale might arise from any
neglect of decorations, the new proprietor had it beautifully lined and
cushioned. It was made to look as handsome as any other pew in the
church; and, when it was finished, the gentleman and his family one
Sabbath morning took possession. This gave rise to great anxiety and
alarm. Niggers in the body of the church! What was to be done? In the
course of the following week a meeting was held, and a deputation
appointed to wait upon the gentleman, and to tell him that it was
against "public feeling" for him to occupy the pew in question. The
gentleman remonstrated, and pointed out the injustice, after he had
purchased the pew, and incurred the expense of fitting it up, of not
being allowed to enjoy it. To this the deputation replied that they
were sorry for any inconvenience or loss he might sustain, but public
feeling _must_ be respected, and the pew _must_ be given up. Against
this decision there was no appeal; and the gentleman was obliged to let
the pew be resold for such a price as the white aristocracy thought fit
to give. On the principle that "prevention is better than cure," they
have, I am told, in Boston introduced into every new trust-deed a
clause that will effectually guard against the recurrence of such a
calamity. But so "smartly" has it been done that, were you to examine
those deeds, you would look in vain for a single syllable having the
remotest apparent bearing on either black or coloured people, and you
would be ready to suspect that the whole was a mere invention of the
Abolitionists. Indeed, Mrs. "Bliss," at the "Saints' Rest," assured me
in the most positive manner that such was the case, and that the whole
of the story I have related had not the shadow of a foundation in
truth. But she might as well have attempted to deny the existence of
Bunker's Hill or Boston Bay. This was only a specimen of the manner in
which the colour-hating party attempt to throw dust in the eyes of
strangers, and deny the existence of the most palpable facts. But how
runs the conservative clause which led to this digression? It is
expressed in words to this effect,--That no sale of any pew is valid if
two-thirds or three-fourths (I forget which) of the congregation should
object to the purchaser! This was quite enough. Those against whom it
was directed need not be even mentioned. It was well known that with
this clause no coloured man could ever own a pew. Public feeling would
piously take hold of this key, and turn it against him.
In the afternoon I heard the Rev. E.N. Kirk. The church was new and
beautiful, the congregation large, and the sermon good.
In the evening I preached in Welsh to about 70 people, in a small
"upper room." It was my first attempt for many years to deliver a
_sermon_ in that language. Nor should I have made it, but for the
peculiarity of the case. The parties were representatives of four
different denominations in Wales, had formed themselves into a kind of
Evangelical Alliance, and had no stated minister, but gladly availed
themselves of the occasional services of any minister of evangelical
views who might be passing through! Poor and few as they were, they
insisted upon my receiving towards travelling expenses four dollars and
a half. This was not done at the Old South, though the pastor told me
they were "burdened with wealth;" nor was it done in any other instance
in the _American_ churches.
The next day the Rev. Mr. Blagden accompanied us to see the
Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind. Here we were introduced to Laura
Bridgman, who since she was about two years of age has been deaf, dumb,
and blind. Her senses of taste and smell are also impaired. She is 18
years of age, and has been in the institution ten years. Every avenue
of communication with the soul was closed--but one. The sense of touch
remained; and by means of that they have contrived to reach the mind,
to inform it, to instruct it, to refine and elevate it. We found her
exactly corresponding to the beautiful description given of her by Dr.
Howe, who is at the head of the institution. That description has so
often been published in England that I will not transcribe it. Her
figure is genteel, slender, and well-proportioned. She appears to be
lively, sensitive, and benevolent. The place where the bright blue eyes
once sparkled that are now quenched in darkness is covered with a piece
of green ribbon. Conversation with her is carried on by means of the
"speaker's" rapid fingering on her right hand. It was in this manner
that we were introduced. She shook hands with us very affectionately,
--taking hold of both hands of Mrs. Davies, and feeling all
about her head, her dress, and her arms. In doing so she felt the
wedding-ring, and wanted to know by means of her interpreter--her
governess--why the English ladies wore a ring on that finger. (The
American ladies do not observe the custom.) On my wife telling her it
was to show they were married, she seemed very much amused and
astonished. Here it was very interesting to observe the progress of a
thought from ourselves to the governess, and from her to that "little,
white, whispering, loving, listening" hand that received and
communicated all ideas, until the brightened countenance and the lovely
smile showed it had reached the soul. She felt a deep sympathy for
Ireland, and wished to know what the English were doing for the
starving inhabitants. We told her; and soon after we saw by the public
papers that, subsequently to our visit, she had done some needle-work,
which was sold, and the proceeds appropriated at her request to
purchase a barrel of flour for that unhappy land. "How," exclaims Elihu
Burritt, "she plied at morning, noon, and night, those fingers!
wonderful fingers! It seemed that the very finger of God had touched
them with miraculous susceptibilities of fellowship with the spirit
world and that around her. She put them upon the face of His written
word, and felt them thrilled to her heart with the pulsation of His
great thoughts of love to man. And then she _felt_ for other's woe.
Poor child! God bless her richly! She reached out her short arms to
feel after some more unhappy than she in the condition of this life;
some whose fingers' ends had not read such sweet paragraphs of heaven's
mercy as hers had done; some who had not seen, heard, and felt what her
dumb, silent, deaf fingers had brought into her heart of joy, hope, and
love. Think of that, ye young eyes and ears that daily feast upon the
beauty and melody of this outer world! Within the atmosphere of her
quick sensibilities, she felt the presence of those whose cup was full
of affliction. She put her fingers, with their throbbing sympathies,
upon the lean bloodless faces of the famishing children in Ireland, and
her sightless eyes filled with the tears that the blind may shed for
griefs they cannot see. And then she plied the needle and those
fingers, and quickened their industry by placing them anon upon the
slow sickly pulse of want that wasted her kind at noonday across the
ocean. Days, and nights too--for day and night were alike to her
wakeful sympathies--and weeks she wrought on with her needle. And then
the embroidery of those fingers was sold to the merchants. Would it had
been sold to England's Queen, to be worn by the young princesses on
days of state! It was sold; and its purchase price was _a barrel of
flour_, instead of a country's harvest, which it was well worth. And
that barrel of flour was stowed away without other private mark than
that the recording Angel put upon it, among the thousands that
freighted the _Jamestown_ on her recent mission of brotherly love to
Ireland. _Laura Bridgman and her barrel of flour_ should teach the
world a lesson worth the woes of one year's famine." Laura favoured us
with her autograph on a slip of paper, which we shall always carefully
preserve as a memorial of a visit to one of the greatest wonders of the
In another room we were introduced to Oliver Caswell. He is about the
same age as Laura, and similarly afflicted, but has been in the
institution only six years. His teacher told him, in the same
finger-language which was used with Laura, that we came from British
Guiana, and desired him to find out the place on the large globe before
him. This globe was made for the use of the blind, having upon it the
countries and their names in relievo. Oliver turned it round, and felt
with his fingers until they soon rested on the required spot, when he
seemed greatly delighted. His attainments are not so remarkable as
those of Laura, for he has not been so long under tuition; but his
progress is highly encouraging.
At 4 P.M. we left Boston by railway for Albany,--fare 5 dollars each.
We rested, however, at Springfield for the night, and that in the most
comfortable hotel we had met with in the States. The next day we moved
on to Pittsfield, where we arrived at half-past 11. Finding that we
might get off from that train, and go by another in three or four
hours' time, we availed ourselves of the opportunity of calling upon
the Rev. Dr. Todd, the author of "Lectures to Children," "The Student's
Guide," &c. Instead of the prim, neat, little man we had always
imagined him to be, we found him tall, coarse, slovenly, and unshaven;
a man of 46 years of age; hair of an iron-grey, rough and uncombed;
features large; cheek-bones prominent; and the straps of his trowsers
unbuttoned, and flapping about his slippers. But, under this
unpromising exterior, we discerned a soul of great intelligence,
frankness, and brotherly kindness. Mrs. Todd has been a woman of great
beauty, and, though she has brought up a large family of children, is
still fresh and comely. Their eldest daughter is 19 years of age; and
John, to whom the "Lectures to Children" were dedicated, is now 14
years of age. The Doctor's insane mother, for whose sake he was first
led to employ his pen, has been dead for some years. His desire to
visit England is very strong. He had been appointed by the churches of
Massachusetts to visit those of England last year in the character of a
delegate; but the means of meeting the expenses of such a delegation
were not provided, and consequently the visit was not paid. It is
worthy of observation that the Doctor's books have been sold in England
far more extensively than in America; but from the English editions he
receives no profit, and even from the American ones very little. As it
may be the first time that English readers hear of John Todd as
_Doctor_ Todd, and as there is an impression that our American friends
bestow their literary honours too freely and indiscriminately,--which,
indeed, is true in reference to some scores of institutions,--nothing
being easier than to obtain a D.D.,--I would just observe that this
applies not to the New England Colleges. They are very chary of such
honours, and only confer that of D.D. on ministers of long standing and
high attainments. In the case of Mr. Todd it was most deservedly
Pittsfield is but a small town, of about 5,000 inhabitants. The
Governor of Massachusetts resided there, and was a deacon of a Baptist
Church. Dr. Todd presides over a Congregational Church. To the
principles of Congregationalism he is devoutly attached. While others
regard Presbyterianism and Congregationalism as matters of mere
geographical boundary, Todd could never be prevailed upon, even by the
most advantageous offers, to do the same. He said he had nailed his
flag to the mast, and would never abandon it. "I regard
Congregationalism," said he to me, "as a sort of a working-jacket: with
it on I can work with anybody, in any place, and in any way." With this
great and good man we exceedingly enjoyed a homely dinner and a few
hours' converse. In coming out, I observed before the door,
half-covered with snow, a beautiful model of the Temple of Theseus.
This was the work of the Doctor's own hands.
At 3-1/2 P.M. we left for Albany. At the station, before crossing the
Hudson, we observed in large letters the ominous words "Beware of
pickpockets!" On reaching the city we went to the "Delevan House," so
called after Mr. Delevan, who has done so much for the advancement of
temperance in America. The house is his property, but he does not
conduct it. He lives there as a lodger; and I was permitted to spend
the evening in conversation with him. The house is the largest
temperance hotel in the world. It will accommodate about 400 guests.
Those who keep it are religious people, and have a public
family-worship every evening, usually conducted by the master of the
house; but if a minister of any denomination be present, he is asked to
officiate. A bell is rung, and all who feel disposed to unite in the
worship assemble in a large room. On this occasion it was my privilege
to conduct the service; and in such a place, and under such
circumstances, it was to me an exercise of peculiar interest. A hymn
too was sung, and well sung,--the tune being led by the master of the
house, aided by his family.
The next morning, at half-past 7, we set off by railway to Utica, a
distance of 94 miles, which we did not accomplish in less than 6-1/2
hours, making an average of less than 15 miles an hour, and for which
we paid 2-1/2 dollars, or 10s. 6d. This journey led us through the
valley of the Mohawk, and that river was for the most part our constant
companion. The railway and the river seemed to be wedded to each
other,--the former conforming to all the whims and windings, and
turnings and twistings of the latter.
Utica is a small city, of about 14,000 inhabitants. Its progress has
been but slow. The houses are painted white, and appear neat and
comfortable. I was struck with the immense number of them that were
erected with their gable end to the street, and with a small portico
supported by two fluted columns. A large portion of the inhabitants are
Welsh, who have here four or five places of worship. The Rev. James
Griffiths, a man of great piety and worth, is the minister of the Welsh
Independents. At his house we were most kindly entertained during our
stay. On the Sabbath I preached for him twice in Welsh. The following
week we were taken to Remsen, eighteen miles off, to see the Rev. Mr.
Everett, whose farewell sermon on leaving Wales I had heard when quite
a boy,--and the Rev. Morris Roberts, to whom I had bidden adieu in
Liverpool sixteen years before. It was delightful to meet these
honoured brethren in their adopted home, after the lapse of so many
years. Remsen is quite a Welsh settlement; and these men both preside
over Welsh churches there. Mr. Everett is the editor of a Welsh Monthly
Magazine. In that periodical, as well as in his ministrations, he has
been unflinching in his denunciations of slavery. This has exposed him
to cruel persecutions. There are about 70,000 Welsh people in the
United States who worship in their own language. At Remsen I had to
deliver two addresses on the results of emancipation in the West
Indies. On our return to Utica, the friend who drove us happened
incidentally to mention that in that country they make the dogs churn!
"The dogs churn!" I said, "Yes," said he; "and I dare say they have a
churning-machine so worked at this house: let us call and see." It was
a farm-house. At the door about half-a-dozen chubby little children,
with fine rosy cheeks, were assembled to see the strangers. I began to
speak in English to the eldest, a boy about 10 years of age; but the
lad stared! He understood not a word I said.
Though born and so far brought up there, he knew nothing but Welsh! We
were gratified with an inspection of the machine for churning. It was
worked very much on the same principle as a treadmill, and exceedingly
disliked by the poor dog. Goats are sometimes made to perform the same
service. In several instances, we saw horses in like manner made to saw
wood, and admired the ingenuity of our cousins in turning to account
every particle of power they possess. "What is the difference," said
Dr. Beecher once to a ship-captain, "between an English sailor and a
Yankee one?" The answer was, "An English sailor can do a thing very
well in _one_ way, but the Yankee can do it in half-a-dozen ways."
A Peep at the House of Representatives in Albany--"The Chair is but a
Man," &c.--Sailing down the Hudson--Dr. Spring--His Morning
Sermon--Afternoon Service--Gough the great Lecturer--The Tract House
and Steam-presses--May-day in New York--Staten Island--Immigrants--A
On the 22nd we left Utica at 11 A.M., and reached Albany at 5 P.M. At
Schenectady Mr. Delevan got into the same carriage with us; and we had
his company to Albany. He had caused to be put into the hand of every
passenger by that train a tract on the claims of the Sabbath, a large
number of which he had printed at his own expense. He spends an immense
fortune in doing good, chiefly by means of the press.
In the evening I strolled out to see a little of Albany, the capital of
the State of New York. I gazed with interest on Dr. Sprague's Church,
and wandered until I came to a large building brilliantly lighted. It
was the State House or Capitol. The legislature was then in session. I
marched on, and got in without the least hinderance. There was no crowd
and no stir about the doors. A simple rail divided the part allotted to
the spectators from that which was used by the members. About a hundred
of the latter were present. The Senate, whose hall was in another part
of the same building, had been adjourned till next day. This was the
House of Representatives; and they seemed to be in the midst of a very
angry discussion. Their cheeks swelled with rage, or with--quids of
tobacco. A spittoon, constantly used, was placed by the side of each
member. They were rebelling against the speaker; and, of all mortals, I
never saw one in a more unenviable position than he. All that his
little hammer, his tongue, and his hands could do was of no avail. The
storm raged. The words "honourable member," "unparliamentary," "order,"
"chair," and "_in_-quiry," were bandied about in all directions. One of
the "honourable members," rushing out past me, said with a loud voice,
"I'll go and get a segar," &c. At last the speaker--poor fellow!--in
tones of humiliation and despair said, "The _chair_ is but a _man_;
and, if we err, we are ready to acknowledge our error."
The next day we left by the steam-boat "Roger Williams," and sailed
down the majestic Hudson to New York, a distance of 145 miles; fare one
dollar each. This river has so often been described by travellers that
I need not repeat the attempt.
The following day was Saturday. In the afternoon I met Dr. Spring at
the Tract House. After the usual salutation, he said, "Shall we hear
your voice at our place to-morrow afternoon?"--"I have no objection,
sir,--what time does your service commence?" "At 4 o'clock."--"Very
well." "Where shall I find you?"--"Where will you be?" "I shall be in
the pulpit five minutes before the time."--"Oh! _very_ well, _very_
In the morning I went to hear the Doctor. His introductory prayer was
long. In it he prayed for Mexico--that it might have a "free and
religious government," and that the present war might result in the
overthrow there of the "man of sin;" but no reference to American
slavery. The Doctor, bear in mind, is an Old School Presbyterian, and a
supporter of the Colonization Society. His text was John v. 23: "That
all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father," &c. His
I. What honours are ascribed to the Father.
1. Appropriate names and titles. Jehovah, &c.
2. Ascription of most glorious attributes. Eternal--Immutable
3. Great and glorious works. Creation--Preservation--Redemption
--Atonement--Regeneration--Justification--Raising the dead--Judging the
world--Destroying it--Glory of the righteous--Punishment of the wicked.
(All these were supported by appropriate quotations of Scripture.)
4. Duties enjoined in reference to Him. Confidence--Worship, &c.
II. That the same honours are ascribed to the Son. (He went over each
of the above particulars, showing from Scripture their application to
III. That, therefore, the Son is properly and truly God.
1. We cannot believe the Scriptures would ascribe the same honours to
Him as to the Father, if He were not equal to the Father.
2. If He be not truly God, the Scriptures tempt to idolatry.
3. If He be not truly God, the accounts which the Scriptures give of
Him are self-contradictory.
4. If He be not truly God, there is no evidence from Scripture that
there is a God at all.
This was a massive and compact argument for the Divinity of Christ. It
occupied upwards of an hour in the delivery, and was read.
In the afternoon I took care to be in the pulpit five minutes before
the time. The Doctor shortly after came, and took his seat behind me.
This to me is always an annoyance,--I would almost as soon have a man
with me in bed as in the pulpit;--and in this instance it was
peculiarly so, as towards the close, although I had not exceeded forty
minutes, I felt quite persuaded that the Doctor was pulling at my
coat-tail, which led me rather abruptly to conclude. In this, however,
I was mistaken; and the Doctor assured me it was what he had never done
in his life, except in one instance,--and that was when the preacher,
having occupied two hours with his sermon, was entering upon a third.
In the evening of the 27th of April I heard, at the Tabernacle, New
York, the celebrated Gough deliver a lecture on Temperance. It was to
commence at 8 o'clock; but we had to be there an hour before the time,
in order to get a comfortable place. That hour was a dreary one. The
scraping of throats and the spitting were horrible. It seemed as if
some hundreds of guttural organs were uttering the awfully guttural
sentence, _"Hwch goch dorchog a chwech o berchill cochion."_
At last Gough made his appearance on the platform. He is a slender
young man of three or four and twenty. He told us he had spoken every
night except three for the last thirty nights, and was then very weary,
but thought "what a privilege it is to live and labour in the present
day." He related his own past experience of _delirium tremens_,--how an
iron rod in his hand became a snake,--how a many-bladed knife pierced
his flesh,--how a great face on the wall grinned at and threatened him;
"and yet," he added, "I _knew_ it was a delusion!"
A temperance man, pointing to Gough, had once observed to another,
"What a miserable-looking fellow that is!" "But," replied the other,
"you would not say so, if you saw how he keeps everybody in a roar of
laughter at the public-house till 1 or 2 in the morning." "But I _was_
miserable," said Gough; "I _knew_ that the parties who courted and
flattered me really _despised_ me." He told us some humorous
tales,--how he used to mortify some of them by claiming acquaintance
with them in the street, and in the presence of their respectable
friends. He returned scorn for scorn. "Gough," said a man once to him,
"you ought to be ashamed of yourself to be always drinking in this
manner." "Do I drink at your expense?"--"No." "Do I owe you
anything?"--"No." "Do I ever ask you to treat me?"--"No." "Then mind
your own business," &c. He introduced this to show that that mode of
dealing with the drunkard was not likely to answer the purpose.
"Six years ago," said he, "a man on the borders of Connecticut, sat
night after night on a stool in a low tavern to scrape an old fiddle.
Had you seen him, with his old hat drawn over his eyebrows, his swollen
lips, and his silly grin, you would have thought him adapted for
nothing else. But he signed the pledge, and in two years became a
United States senator, and thrilled the House with his eloquence."
In one place, after Gough had delivered a lecture, some ladies gathered
around him, and one of them said, "I wish you would ask Joe to 'sign
the pledge,"--referring to a wretched-looking young man that was
sauntering near the door. Gough went up to him, spoke _kindly_ to him,
and got him to sign: the ladies were delighted, and heartily shook
hands with Joe. A year after Gough met Joe quite a dandy, walking
arm-in-arm with a fine young lady. "Well, Joe, did you stick to the
pledge?" said Gough to him. "Yes," said Joe with an exulting smile,
"and the lady has stuck to me."
For more than an hour Gough kept the vast audience enchained by his
varied and charming talk.
On the 29th I went over the Tract House in New York, and was delighted
to see there six steam-presses,--four of which were then at work,
pouring forth in rapid succession sheet after sheet impressed with that
kind of literature which in my judgment is admirably adapted to meet
the wants of this growing country. They were then printing on an
average 27,000 publications, including nearly 2,400 of each kind, _per
diem!_ and employing sixty women in folding and stitching. During the
last year they printed 713,000 volumes, and 8,299,000 smaller
publications, making a total of 217,499,000 pages, or 58,154,661 pages
more than in any previous year! Of the _volumes_ issued, I may mention
14,000 sets of four volumes of D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation,
17,000 of Bunyan's Pilgrim, 10,000 of Baxter's Saints' Rest, 9,000 of
Doddridge's Rise and Progress, 7,000 of Pike's Persuasives, 13,000 of
Alleine's Alarm, and 41,000 of Baxter's Call! The two Secretaries,
whose business it is to superintend the publishing department and
matters relating to the raising of funds, the Rev. Wm. A. Hallock and
the Rev. O. Eastman, are enterprising and plodding men. They told me
they were brought up together in the same neighbourhood, and had both
worked at the plough till they were 20 years of age!
The 1st of May is the great moving day in New York. Throughout the city
one house seems to empty itself into another. Were it to the next door,
it might be done with no great inconvenience; but it is not so. Try to
walk along the causeway, and you are continually blocked up with
tables, chairs, and chests of drawers. Get into an omnibus, and you are
beset with fenders, pokers, pans, Dutch ovens, baskets, brushes, &c.
Hire a cart, and they charge you double fare.
One day at the water-side, happening to see the steamer for Staten
Island about to move off, we stepped on board, and in less than half an
hour found ourselves there. The distance is 6 miles, and the island is
18 miles long, 7 miles wide, and 300 feet high. Here are a large
hospital for mariners and the quarantine burying-ground. It is also
studded with several genteel residences. In 1657 the Indians sold it to
the Dutch for 10 shirts, 30 pairs of stockings, 10 guns, 30 bars of
lead, 30 lbs. of powder, 12 coats, 2 pieces of duffil, 30 kettles, 30
hatchets, 20 hoes, and one case of knives and awls.
Several emigrant vessels were then in the bay. On our return, we saw
with painful interest many of them setting their foot for the first
time on the shore of the New World. They were then arriving in New
York, chiefly from the United Kingdom, at the rate of one thousand a
day. The sight affected me even to tears. It was like a vision of the
British Empire crumbling to pieces, and the materials taken to build a
new and hostile dominion.
I should draw too largely upon your patience, were I to describe many
objects of interest and many scenes of beauty I witnessed in New York
and the neighbourhood. The Common Schools; the Croton Waterworks,
capable of yielding an adequate supply for a million-and-a-half of
people; Hoboken, with its sibyl's cave and elysian fields; the spot on
which General Hamilton fell in a duel; the Battery and Castle Garden--a
covered amphitheatre capable of accommodating 10,000 people; the Park,
and the City Hall with its white marble front; Trinity Church; and its
wealthy Corporation; Long Island, or Brooklyn, with its delightful
cemetery, &c., &c. Suffice it to say that New York has a population of
about 400,000; and that it has for that population, without an
Established Church, 215 places of worship. Brooklyn has also a
population of 60,000, and 30 places of worship.
The May Meetings--Dr. Bushnell's Striking Sermon--Two Anti-Slavery
Meetings--A Black Demosthenes--Foreign Evangelical Society--A New Thing
in the New World--The Home-Missionary Society--Progress and Prospects
of the West--Church of Rome--Departure from New York--What the Author
thinks of the Americans.
The American May Meetings held in New York do not last a month as in
England,--a week suffices. That week is the second in the month. On the
Sabbath preceding, sermons on behalf of many of the societies are
preached in various churches. On the morning of the Sabbath in question
we went to the Tabernacle, not knowing whom we should hear. To our
surprise and pleasure, my friend Dr. Baird was the preacher. His text
was, "Let thy kingdom come;" and the object for which he had to plead
was the Foreign Evangelical Society, of which he was the Secretary. His
sermon was exceedingly simple, and the delivery quite in an off-hand
conversational style. There was no reading.
In the evening we heard Dr. Bushnell preach, on behalf of the American
Home-Missionary Society, at the "Church of the Pilgrims" in Brooklyn.
This is a fine costly building, named in honour of the Pilgrim Fathers,
and having a fragment of the Plymouth Rock imbedded in the wall. The
sermon was a very ingenious one on Judges xvii. 13: "Then said Micah,
Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my
priest." The preacher observed that Micah lived in the time of the
Judges--what might be called the "emigrant age" of Israel,--that he was
introduced on the stage of history as a thief,--that he afterwards
became in his own way a saint, and must have a priest. First, he
consecrates his own son; but his son not being a Levite, it was
difficult for so pious a man to be satisfied. Fortunately a young
Levite--a strolling mendicant probably--comes that way; and he promptly
engages the youth to remain and act the _padre_ for him, saying, "Dwell
with me, and be a _father_ unto me." Having thus got up a religion, the
thief is content, and his mental troubles are quieted. Becoming a
Romanist before Rome is founded, he says, "Now know I that the Lord
will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest." Religion to him
consisted in a fine silver apparatus of gods, and a priest in regular
succession. In this story of Micah it was seen that _emigration, or a
new settlement of the social state, involves a tendency to social
decline_. "Our first danger," said the preacher, "is barbarism
The tendency to barbarism was illustrated by historic references. The
emigration headed by Abraham soon developed a mass of barbarism,--Lot
giving rise to the Moabites and the Ammonites; meanwhile, Abraham
throwing off upon the world in his son Ishmael another stock of
barbarians--the Arabs,--a name which according to some signifies
_Westerners_. One generation later, and another ferocious race springs
from the family of Isaac--the descendants of Esau, or the Edomites.
Then coming down to the time of the Judges we find that violence
prevailed, that the roads were destroyed, and that the arts had
perished: there was not even a smith left in the land; and they were
obliged to go down to the Philistines to get an axe or a mattock
sharpened. Then the preacher came to the great American question
itself. It was often supposed that in New England there had always been
an upward tendency. It was not so. It had been downward until the
"great revival" about the year 1740. The dangers to which society in
the South and "Far West" is now exposed were powerfully described. The
remedies were then pointed out.
"First of all, we must not despair." "And what next? We must get rid,
if possible, of slavery." "'We must have peace.'". Also "Railways and
telegraphs." "Education, too, we must favour and promote." "Above all,
provide a talented and educated body of Christian teachers, and keep
them pressing into the wilderness as far as emigration itself can go."
The conclusion of this great sermon was so remarkable that I cannot but
give it in the Doctor's own words.
"And now, Jehovah God, thou who, by long ages of watch and discipline,
didst make of thy servant Abraham a people, be thou the God also of
this great nation. Remember still its holy beginnings, and for the
fathers' sakes still cherish and sanctify it. Fill it with thy Light
and thy Potent Influence, till the glory of thy Son breaks out on the
Western sea as now upon the Eastern, and these uttermost parts, given
to Christ for his possession, become the bounds of a new Christian
empire, whose name the believing and the good of all people shall hail
as a name of hope and blessing."
On the Tuesday I attended two Anti-slavery Meetings in the Tabernacle.
The one in the morning was that of Mr. Garrison's party. The chief
speakers were Messrs. Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Frederick
Douglass. This party think that the constitution of the United States
is so thoroughly pro-slavery that nothing can be done without breaking
it up. Another party, at the head of which is Lewis Tappan, think that
there are elements in the constitution which may be made to tell
powerfully against slavery, and ultimately to effect its overthrow.
Both parties mean well; but they unhappily cherish towards each other
great bitterness of feeling. Mr. Tappan's party held their meeting in
the afternoon. Among the speakers was the Rev. Mr. Patton from
Hartford, son of Dr. Patton, who made a very effective speeches. The
Rev. Samuel Ward also, a black man of great muscular power, and amazing
command of language and of himself, astonished and delighted me. I
could not but exclaim, "There speaks a black Demosthenes!" This man,
strange to say, is the pastor of a Congregational church of white
people in the State of New York. As a public speaker he seemed superior
to Frederick Douglass. It was pleasing at those anti-slavery meetings
to see how completely intermingled were the whites and the coloured.
I had been invited in the evening to speak at the public meeting of the
Foreign Evangelical Society, and to take tea at Dr. Baird's house.
While I was there, Dr. Anderson, one of the Secretaries of the American
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and Mr. Merwin, called to
invite me to address the public meeting of that society on the Friday.
I promised to do so, if I should not previously have left for the West
Indies. The public meeting of Dr. Baird's society was held in the Dutch
Reformed Church, Dr. Hutton's, a magnificent Gothic building. Dr. De
Witt took the chair. The attendance was large and respectable. Dr.
Baird, as Secretary, having recently returned from Europe, where he had
conversed on the subject of his mission with fourteen crowned heads,
read a most interesting report. The writer had then to address the
meeting. After him three other gentlemen spoke. There was no
collection! Strange to say, that, with all their revivals, our friends
in America seem to be morbidly afraid of doing anything under the
influence of excitement. Hence the addresses on occasions like this are
generally stiff and studied, half-an-hour orations. This feeling
prevents their turning the voluntary principle, in the support of their
religious societies, to so good an account as they otherwise might. At
the close of this meeting, there seemed to be a fine state of feeling
for making a collection; and yet no collection was made. This society
is one of great value and importance. It is designed to tell in the
promotion of evangelical truth on the Catholic countries of Europe and
South America. In those countries, it employs a hundred colporteurs in
the sale and distribution of religious publications.
The next morning I addressed a breakfast meeting of about 400 people,
in a room connected with the Tabernacle. This was a new thing in the